Supplementing Initial Disclosures & Sequencing Issues at Trial

The issue of when initial disclosures – not patent rule disclosures, but the Rule 26(a)(1)-ish ones which include lists of persons with knowledge – can be supplemented is one that doesn’t come up often.  And a request that issues be sequenced at trial is even rarer.  This order resolving requests for both is of interest to practitioners, since while these requests don’t come up often, they’re of great interest when they do.

The Equitable Defense of Patent Misuse & Limitation of Damages Based on FRAND Principles

Equitable defenses typically don’t get a lot of attention in patent cases.  In this case the parties declined to present any evidence on the equitable defenses orally, instead submitting on the papers, but of course submitting additional briefing postverdict as well.  Accordingly, the defendant’s equitable defenses of patent misuse and limitation of damages based on FRAND principles were resolved postverdict in the attached findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Federal Circuit affirms EDTX “stop instruction”

The conditioning of a jury question on an affirmative answer to a prior question is called a “stop instruction” because it explicitly tells the jury to “STOP” if it found “no” to the prior question.

A common example is an instruction to the jury not to answer a question asking if the patent claim is invalid if it just answered that the claim is not infringed.   That isn’t the case in all trials – if it were then a no claims infringed / no claims valid verdict wouldn’t be possible, and most years that is either the most or the second most common single verdict locally.  And it’s the most common defense verdict, certainly – for example in 2017 of the five noninfringement verdicts where invalidity was also submitted, the jury found the claims invalid in four. (It also found the claims invalid in a fifth case where the claims were infringed).

Last week the Federal Circuit addressed this issue in a case from Judge Gilstrap’s court and affirmed the court’s use of – and later enforcement of – the “stop instruction” under the interesting facts of that case.

Hatch-Waxman Cases, MDL Panels & Stays

While you’re enjoying Parker’s perfect snow angel from Tuesday, I wanted to note that the segment of patent litigation that was affected the most significantly by TC Heartland was pharmaceutical cases, and as I discussed in my paper presented in November, one of the potential solutions to the additional venue obstacles is multidistrict litigation (MDL) proceedings.

One recent EDTX case indicates that that perennial bridesmaid in search of a wedding may actually be approaching at least one altar.


And then there’s that pesky marking statute, 35 U.S.C. § 287(a).  Under § 287(a), a patentee or other party selling a patented product under the patent must mark that product with the patent number to provide notice to the public that the product it may be pursuing is patented. (No, there is not a penalty for overuse of the letter “p”.  Why do you ask?)  If they don’t satisfy the marking statute, damages can be limited to the point that the word “presuit” will henceforth cause the patentholder uncontrolled crying fits. The issue of when a plaintiff has the burden of proving compliance with the marking statute at trial was the subject of an interesting order from across the street earlier today.

Attorney Prohibited From Filing New Patent Cases for 120 Days as Rule 11 Sanction

I posted several days ago on the show cause order Judge Gilstrap issued with respect to an attorney’s “systematic carelessness” in filings on behalf of the plaintiff in the Ruby Sands litigation.  The full post is available to subscribers here. In an order memorializing the rulings at the hearing, Judge Gilstrap suspended the attorney’s ability to file new cases for 120 days, with the following language:

“Mr. Zimmerman’s repeated acts of negligence in his practice before this Court—as further expounded upon in the Court’s Order to Show Cause and on the record at the hearing – compel the Court to conclude that some targeted action should be taken to prevent further lapses in adequate compliance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Local Rules of Practice and the direct instructions of the Court. Such is necessary to support and uphold the integrity of this Court. While Mr. Zimmerman admirably accepted fault at the hearing and made no excuses for his conduct, the fact remains that the instances which precipitated the Court’s Order to Show Cause nonetheless occurred and should be addressed.”

Accordingly, pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure the Court ordered that Mr. Zimmerman be prohibited from filing any new cases within the Eastern District of Texas for 120 days from the date of the hearing on April 26, 2017. The prohibition expires automatically, and does not affect Mr. Zimmerman’s ability to represent clients in cases currently pending.

How Do You Know When The Case Is Over?

Ever had that situation where you think you have a settlement, but the other side doesn’t, or vice versa?  I mean in the absence of horned and breastplated opera singers, of course. That was the situation presented in this case, where the parties in a patent infringement case appeared to have settled their dispute, but the final settlement agreement fell through when Defendants learned that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) had instituted inter partes review (IPR) of one of the asserted patents. The Court found that